Monthly Archives: June 2010


The internet is amazing sometimes

Lucky me. Worthwhile post.  I found your webpage by accident and will put it in my favourites now

Iwas sent an email saying the above. It was about a post I wrote in 2009

That article is still floating around cyberspace and has been picked up by someone.

Here is a link to the poem –


At the corner of Wood Street, when daylight appears,
Hangs a thrush that sings loud – it has sung for three years.
Poor Susan has passed by the spot, and has heard
In the silence of morning the song of the bird.

‘Tis a note of enchantment: what ails her?  She sees
A mountain ascending, a vision of trees:
Bright volumes of vapour through Lothbury glide,
And a river flows on through the vale of Cheapside.

Green pastures she views in the midst of the dale,
Down which she so often has tripped with her pail;
And a single small cottage, a nest like a dove’s,
The one only dwelling on earth that she loves.

She looks, and her heart is in heaven: but they fade,
The mist and the river, the hill and the shade;
The stream will not flow, and the hill will not rise,
And the colours have all passed away from her eyes.

REVERIE OF POOR SUSAN – Wordsworth 1770-1850


I ordered a caged bird feeder from Garden Bird Supplies and it came the other day.

It’s great and I’m really pleased with it.

It’s taken the garden birds a day or two to get used to it, but now they flit inside and get the bird food with ease

Feedsafe Giant Seed Feeder

I am having to replace most of my hanging feeders with caged feeders (when finances allow)

Rooks had learnt to balance on the hanging feeder that did not have a cage round it.  They put their beaks through the feeder holes.  Squirrels had learnt to hop along the washing line  (the feeder without a cage was hung in the middle of an old long washing line).  So I definitely needed another caged feeder

I definitely do not to feed squirrels and rooks!

I would recommend this new caged feeder. 

  • It  comes with a matching hanging bracket. 
  • It is sturdy andstrong.
  • Birds must feed safe within the cage
  • The lid is chained to the feeder so will not get lost

  • The Feedsafe’s heavy steel bars combine a traditional ‘parrot cage’ design with impregnability to most squirrels and large birds.
  • 7″ in diameter,
  • the Feedsafe’s bars enclose a strong polycarbonate tube 



I still have to have a makeshift feeder so that the blackbirds can get at some birdfood but this caged feeder will serve me well for years.


Feedsafe Giant Seed Feeder,default,pd.html


Hanging feeders are great but I still put bird food on the ground feeder for the ground feeding birds that visit.



We have had so few swallows this year.

I’ve been waiting to see if any late swallows arrived but they haven’t

Each year for a few years we have had less and less swallows.   Each year I thought that swallow numbers would increase.  They haven’t

How can swallow numbers increase –  when each year fewer and fewer swallows are leaving here each year?

We can feed garden birds and help them survive, but swallows are a much more complicated problem

Swallows travel the globe so any global problem could be a swallow’s problem.

It seems so odd with hardly any swallows about



I sat with friend in A&E at Scarborough Hospital last night.  She arrived at 11pm.  It was darkish.

Setting off back from the hospital was a revalation.  I set off at 4 am.  It was daylight – yet the world was not awake.  Well the birds were awake.

I opened the car window for some air and the chorus of birds singing sounded so sweet and loud.  All the way along the road. 

I think birds think they own the roads at that time in a morning

Woodpigeons seemed to be the worse.  Not seeing, not hearing.  Two wood pigeons were walking on the road with their backs to me.  I got really near them thinking they would fly away. They didn’t.  They turned round and faced me.  They looked straight at the car and seemed surprised.  (or was the my lack of sleep imagining it).  Then they clumsily flew away.  I had to break really hard to miss them.

Two sparrows fighting in the grass.  What’s new.

A black mole like creature running across the road.  It looked so like a mole.

A lovely, soft, white covering of what looked like a patch of snowflakes on the road in front off me,-but which in fact were the white feathers  of a bird that had been caught and eaten by something (hopefully not by someone)

A few dead animals on the roadside.  A hedgehog that looked like it was asleep, but it wasn’t.  unidentifiable birds.

Young rabbits hopping out of the hedgerow, looking about and then hopping back into the hedgerow.

On the country lane   I saw a blackbird walking across the lane.  From the other side a sparrow skittered across.  They passed each other in the middle of the road and ignored each other.

The main  road was occupied by many birds. As I drove along there were different groups of  Two or three magpies, wood pigeons, rooks and crows.  I suppose they have learnt there are not many cars aroud at that time in a morning – so they take over the road.

The lane near our house was scattered with birds.  Live ones.  I wondered the other day how long birds spend on the ground.  This morning i’ve seen so many birds taking over the ground.  All shapes and sizes.  Sparrows and rooks on the same bit of road. 

At some points it was like driving into a small snowstorm when they were all flying to get out of the way of the car.

Birds have a lot of things going against them, but the one thing I envy them for is that they don’t have to deal with the NHS

A new caged bird feeder arrived  today.  No it arrived yesterday  More info to follow


dead sparrow with brain missing – The answer?

Last week Loraine ask me about dead sparrows with brains missing.  I did answer her personally.  Now I’m putting some details on Bird Table News –

First here is the article –

I did not have a clue what could have happened to these birds so I asked for some advice.

 I  have had 3 people get in touch. Here they are –
1. Hi Trisha. This is an interesting question.

Cats or any predatory mammal would normally carry their prey away from the site of capture or kill so as not to draw too much attention to themselves. I doubt very much it is a cat. They normally asphyxiate or shake their victims to death and invariably bite their heads off.

It could be the work of a stoat or weasel. These animals will bite into the skulls of prey to kill them off. It’s the way they dispatch of rabbits or rats.

Sparrowhawks would not peck their victims to death. Their bills are not designed for such a function.
Your killer if it was a bird, could be a magpie or other corvid. I observed recently a magpie coming to my bird feeder and helping itself to a young house sparrow. It grabbed the unfortunate sparrow then proceeded to batter it with its bill,oblivious to the frantic attentions of adult sparrows and other birds which had gathered to see the deadly fracas.
I hope this sheds some light on your inquiry –  from Monahawk

2. the brain has a lot of good stuff in it compared to some other bits of a body.

 A few animals will eat that first (or only) if there is enough other food around. Monahawk’s thoughts all seem like reasonable suggestions.  from  Isurus

3. A number of years ago I had a male Sparrowhawk which on catching its prey would crunch the skull and just eat the brain and leave the rest of it’s prey, the sound of it doing it was terrible.
So sparrowhawk,  stoat, weasel, crow, rook or any corvid. Seems like a bird is the most likely answer.
Loraine, Have you found anything out?

reading the answers I feel it could be a sparrowhawk. I think once they find a food supply they stay in the area – this is only a guess.

I hope it hasn’t happened again


Apologies for the lack of clarity in these photos, but it’s not often I see a hen pheasant, raven, woodpigeon, crow, blackbird and a rabbit sharing an early morning breakfast

First came the rabbit –

Can you see the rabbit?


 Then a blackbird joined the rabbit –

Bird and Mammal


Now the party starts.  A hen pheasant in the background. Next to it a Raven.  Then a rabbit and a blackbird.  Hen pheasant, Raven, Rabbit, Blackbird

Can you see them


Hen Pheasant,  Crow, Wood pigeon, blackbird, rabbit –

Four birds and one mammal


Hen pheasant, raven and wood pigeon all eating the same grain.  then a rabbit eating grass –

This was very early morning and we have had to take some old fencing down.  This must happen every morning, but it is hidden from view by the fence.

They all meandered about together for about half an hour.  The rabbit picked the freshes dandelion leaves.

It reminds me of when I used to go picking dandelions for our pet rabbit when Iwas about 6 years old.  Now I remember picking dandelion leaves when I was six years old BUT what did I do yesterday!?

I will try and get better photos – but it’s hard.

A Hare in the garden

Today we have had a hare in the garden.  It hopped casually by my kitchen window.

We had to knock some old fencing down and this has linked up to the shrubland on the other side of the fence.  It certainly opens up a whole new view.

I could see rabbits eating grass alongside rooks and crows pecking on the ground

It was fascinating to see blackbirds, sparrows, rabbits, rooks, crows all in the same piece of land.

I can see into the shrubland more now the fence has gone and seem more surrounded by nature.

There isn’t a boundary now.

Photos to follow.


I have been asked this question by Toni –

I have recently bought an RSPB Classic birdtable which has very wide open sides. 

My previous one which rotted had 4 arched openings.  I have a beech hedge adjacent to the table which is home to dozens of sparrows and dunnocks which used to frequent my table.  Sometimes there would be dozens of them along the edges and on the table. 

I got doves feeding on the ground and one dove could fit uncomfortably on the table but didn’t deter the smaller birds.  I also got robins & chaffinches. 

The new table had a black plastic removable tray and I knew it would be a while before the sparrows would be brave enough to use it.  I had to have a new feeding tray put on my old feeder some years ago and it had been varnished and I think the smell put them off and I know they are very cautious and suspicious and it was about five days before the sparrows would use it.

However, what happened with the new table was that the doves found a way to drop down from the ridged roof which they could sit on and turn around in the air and get on the table and eventually the table would have a half dozen doves and sometimes a pigeon on it.  So the sparrows didn’t even try to use it. 

In about 5 weeks I saw a sparrow about three times on the table and almost instantly doves would come and it would disappear.  The doves would be waiting on the roofs of adjacent houses in the morning and as soon as they saw me put on the food they would descend.  

I discussed the problem with the RSPB and have stopped feeding the birds altogether for the time being to get rid of the doves but I know they are out there and the pigeons.  I see them on my neighbours’ bird table.  I thought I would try to guard the table on some way with either wooden trellis cut to size (like a curtain) hanging on hooks from the roof which I could lift up like on a hinge and put seed on the table and remove the tray for cleaning;  or perhaps make panels or a cage with square  plastic covered fencing. 

I am really sad as I have been feeding this sparrow population for very many years and used to get such a lot of joy from them.  I’ve read the various comments on pigeon proofing my table like the canes but I’m not convinced that would keep the doves out.  I did try bracing some short canes from the inside of the roof to the opposite side of the bottom of the table.  I put four crossing one another but the doves still got on the table and either knocked the canes off or just managed to squeeze in and eat. 

I’m desperate for a solution.  Does anyone have any really practical and tested ideas.  I did write the RSPB but didn’t get any very helpful feedback.  Help.


This is my reply, but advice and ideas always welcome –

Thanks for getting in touch.  I have had a struggle with large birds pinching the food for years now. 
One way I have found is to put garden canes around the birdtable.  Your problem is that the birds come down from the roof, but if they cannot balance because canes are there it may work.  The smaller birds can get through the canes, but the larges ones cannot.  Here is a link  to an article.
At the bottom of the article is a photo of the canes round my birdtable.  They do get blown about a bit, but I’ve found this is the best way.  It allows blackbirds and thrushes to get in.  One other way is to just use caged bird feeders
For years I’ve had pigeons, rooks and crows descend when I put bird food out.  We just can’t afford it can we?
Making a cage  with square  plastic covered fencing is a good idea. 
I can imagine that you feel really sad, especially as you have been  feeding this sparrow population for very many years

I don’t think it’s any good you waiting until the doves go away.  A practical solution is needed. 
Could you buy a hanging feeder and put it in the hedge.  I have hanging feeders and birds soon get the hang of them.
Here is another link showing a ground feeder that has a cage round it. It also shows my canes round the bird table

Here are some more ideas from readers  – 
I would first of all like to thank Trish for her inspiration.

I cannot stand grey pigeons, as they finish enough food to feed 4 or 5 of the smaller birds in my garden. So through searching for advice on how to keep pigeons away from the bird table I stumbled upon Trish’s idea of placing canes around the table.

I thought I might take this a step further and incorporate the canes into the table itself creating a more aesthetically pleasing table. I ended up purchasing a table  along with a strip of floor edging to act as my canes.
Instead of boring you with the details of how I made the table pigeon proof, I thought I might post pictures up instead (as soon as I know how) which are self-explanatory.

The pigeons have tried to enter the ‘house’ but being too big they couldn’t balance on any part of the table apart from the roof.

All other birds however have been enjoying the treats I have put out for them which in previous days would have been finished by the pigeons before the smaller birds even got a taste. This has all been happening while the pigeons sit on the fence and wonder how they are going to enter, but all their attempts have failed!
Thanks Trish!
(Pics up soon!)


What a lovely comment.   It’s wonderful how practical ideas can be spread by the Internet.

Toni here is another idea

April 2010  – Another way to help small birds from Arlene

My bird table has a roof and has been enclosed by my husband on three sides by the largest plastic mesh I  could find~ the open side nearest the lounge window.

It took  awhile for them to get used to it but they hop through as though it wasn’t there now.
All the little birds hop through the mesh or through the side bits under the roof and the bigger birds such as Blackbirds come round the back.


Let me know what you think